Writing for Blockheads
“Paul Francis celebrates the lot of the amateur writer with refreshing honesty and infectious enthusiasm. A must-read for anyone who has ever been tempted to put pen to paper.” (Anna Dreda, independent bookseller, Costa judge 2014)
A glimpse inside:
You gotta have a dream. According to South Pacific, ‘If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?’ And we did, me and the thousands of wannabe writers, we dreamt of winning the Booker Prize, being on TV, wandering around Hay Festival as we languidly signed books for adoring fans. Oh yes, I’ve played that game. Watched Carol Ann Duffy reading in a packed church at Ledbury, spied David Hare in the audience for his own trilogy at Birmingham Rep, and thought, along with Yosser Hughes, ‘I could do that.’
Those are the default fantasies, fitted as standard. From my own writing career I have a few more, exquisitely painful because at one time they seemed to bring me closer to the grail. The probability that yes, my first book would be published by Penguin...the radio producer who said my script wasn’t really a one-off play; it would actually be better as a series....sitting in the train, my ticket paid for by Channel 4 News, heading down to London for the appearance that would seal the fate of Chris Woodhead, and establish me as a fearless investigative reporter.
All true, and none of them came to much. Now, with the wisdom of experience, I know I’m not going to be famous. And that’s OK. That doesn’t mean that having the dream was wrong. It’s a perfectly valid ambition, which can provide the fuel required for the commitment and effort of writing. Just because I’m old enough to think that it’s unlikely to happen for me doesn’t invalidate other, younger writers from pursuing it with passion. But what I can offer from this particular vantage point is the reassurance that the dream is not essential. Even when it’s dead and gone the writing remains worthwhile.
WRITING FOR FUN
WRITING RADIO PLAYS